100 days or so

IMG_5539cI’m aching all over! Yesterday afternoon we had our third cha cha class. I remember a few basic steps from Nancy Harding’s dance class from when I was 15 but this is different. We haven’t learned any steps yet but we’re working on how to move your body. And as with skating nothing seems to come naturally! It seems as though your body is supposed to lead your feet! So lots of exercises to learn particular movements which can then be incorporated into the whole, eventually. And though none of the exercises are extreme, by the end of the class your body knows about it and demands some rest once you’ve got back home. I’m sure it’ll be good for me, and it’s certainly more fun than just doing time in the gymn. Our teacher doesn’t know any English but she can demonstrate most things and Yvonne fills in with the occasional bit of translation when it’s necessary.

This is fun and has taken over from the square dancing we did for a couple of weeks, which got interrupted by a summer cold for a week and somehow we never got back to it. This time we’re paying for private tuition, just the two of us. We’ll see how we go after our first 12 classes are up. I hope my former teacher Peter is pleased that dance is still on my horizon!

Last Sunday was a shock to the system. I had thought that helping others to learn English might be something I could engage in, giving students a ‘real live foreigner’ to deal with. So I joined a Sunday infant school’s English class as an ‘appertiser’. But only for a brief 30 minutes. Well, the kids were very sweet but being a prime mover in the class was much tougher than I’d expected. It took me the rest of the day to recover. BIG STRESS! I should have realised that this would be the case since I don’t like being ‘out front and leading things’. Leading worship in London was a case in point. Well I managed to survive that since I had a very definite shape to follow, even though I still found it stressful. I used to love helping with the kids at the skating club but that wasn’t really leading anything. Just being alongside them as they were taught by a proper teacher.

Anyway, it looks like I won’t be teaching English again soon, not without a lot more input etc etc. 

2014-09-20 18-05-00 HDRToday (I’ve skipped a week), Yvonne is out with former University friends as their medical school is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary. I geared up to go and eat dumplings at the local cafe but for some reason they were closed so I came back and settled with frozen pizza at home. (Shame on me I know). We did try a Pizza Hut a couple of weeks ago and I was decidedly underwhelmed. They’re quite popular here. I enjoyed them when I first came across them 30 years ago but I’ve since gone off them. And the Chinese franchise does nothing for them I’m afraid! I’m looking forward to our new house next year when we’ll have a proper oven for our own home made ones.

Unfortunately the timing on our new place has slipped back. We had been advised that the main builder would be finished by early October, but visiting a week ago it was obvious that they still had plenty to do. It looks like December might be a more realistic time frame for receiving the keys. After that there’ll be 3 months of work to convert the concrete shell into a home. Since we plan to visit the UK from the end of April for 3 months it might be that we’ll not be moved in until August next year. (They like to ‘air’ a new place for 3 months before moving in, even though paint and materials are supposed to be Class 1 and non-toxic). But it will be exciting.

As I’m writing I’m listening to The Archers podcast and waiting for yesterday’s Saturday Live with Richard Coles to finish downloading. Creature comforts!

2014-10-13 20.45.06Mid-week we went to some international footie which proved to be very exciting. I think Yvonne went along just to keep her husband happy but she had a great time too. It appears that the last time she went to the stadium (just a mile up the road) was nearly 30 years ago shortly after it was build, and then for a non-sporting exhibition.

Team China, as they like to call themselves, dominated in the first half, going 2-0 up in in the first 18 minutes, but after half time, Paraguay came back like a transformed team who were only thwarted in their efforts by some superb work from the Chinese goalie.

I think we’d both love to get to see some more but I think it’s quite unusual for the national team to be playing at our local. It’s a big enough stadium (55,000) but it was only about half full at 27,000 that night. It didn’t feel too empty as all the top tiers were kept free making it feel crowded lower down. I was interested to see what it felt like as a spectator. There’s a running track outside of the pitch (much like the Olympic stadium in London was before being converted) but we didn’t feel remote from the pitch. We got a great view despite the distance.

In September we had the mid Autumn festival and Yvonne’s family took us all to Shao Shan, Mao’s birthplace, a couple of hours drive to the south west. 2014-09-08 10.52.01c

2014-10-01 15-29-01That was followed a couple of weeks later with the national holiday to celebrate 65 years of the PRC. We all went to the local wetlands centre, just nearby on the other side of the river. I’m slowly finding out that they’ve got quite a few attractions here for days out with the kids and for visitors. These include a sealife park and Window of the World  which has smaller re-constructions of famous buildings from around the world.

Our good friend Diana (Tang Huan Jun) was married a couple of weeks ago. (She was Yvonne’s translator at our London wedding, and the one who sorted out all of Yvonne’s paperwork to get visas to come to the UK). It was very special to be there on her day and a delight since she had an important part to play in Yvonne and my relationship. God bless you Tang!IMG_5608

Since this was only the second Chinese wedding I have been to it was interesting comparing with ours 4 years ago. Lots of similarities including a master of ceremonies (with a good singing voice) who sounded more like he was building the crowd up for the latest boxing match!!! Plenty of volume!

Lots of love to you all,

Will & Yvonne



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